Stevenage 3 – 4 Peterborough
After an impressive start to the season, up came the Carling Cup. Could Posh continue their form into this game or would it be a case of after the Lord Mayors show?
In fact, this game felt more like a pre-season friendly with Posh happy to pass the ball around without actually going anywhere!
The tactics employed by Fergie Jnr this season has definitely changed and this may be down to the loss of prolific striker Craig Mackail-Smith. However, it is definitely for the better as Posh look much more composed and build up their attacks rather than relying on Mackail-Smith to run, harass and chase down balls.
It is also very frustrating at times as Posh often don’t make any impression into the opposition half as they play the ball around the back four and midfield! Doing this last night also caused problems for the team as Stevenage chased after the ball and often caused Posh enough problems that they gave away possession easily or picking the wrong pass.
When we did get things right, Posh looked a very good team and dare I say it, a good Championship team. Some of the balls through were excellent to watch sadly the finishing was poor. We often tried too many passes around the area and by the time we were looking to take a shot, the opposition had the majority of their players behind the ball making it virtually impossible to shoot!
Having said that, Posh could’ve been out of sight by half time with Stevenage old-boy George Boyd having a guilt edged chance which he hit straight at the keeper.
Lee Frecklington looks like a new player for Posh. Having spent more time in the injury room than on the team sheet since he arrived at London Road, he has played really well in both the opening game against Crystal Palace in this cup game against Stevenage.
Lee Tomlin and George Boyd are skilful and always caused a threat with their dribbling and passing skills. Sadly, despite causing problems for his old team, Boyd gave the impression he didn’t want to be the one to knock his old team out of the Cup. That is until a free-kick was awarded to Posh in the 2nd half which he finished in style!
Stevenage, for the most part, played very direct, route one football which paid dividends as it caused no end of problems for the Posh central pairing of Zakuani and Bennett, who incidentally both picked up yellow cards.
The official for the game didn’t make any friends on the night as he failed to control the game. For example he booked Zakuani for the very first tackle of the game when it wasn’t even deserving of a yellow card, failing to award an early penalty to Posh after Tommy Rowe was taken out by the keeper and then failing to even pull out a yellow card for the Stevenage player who had a bit of a fracas with Tunnicliffe, pushing him over in the dugout after a superb tackle from the young Manchester United loanee.
On last nights showing, both teams should hold their own in their respective leagues this season.
Stevenage are a physical side and some of their tackles were late and astray which could possibly be attributed to early season. League One is certainly a physical league for the most part, so they should cope well and cause problems for most teams in that League.
Posh, on the other hand, have more quality than the last time they played in the Championship, but they need to learn when to shoot and when to pass. They seemed to want to pass the ball through the opposition which for the majority failed to work as they just came up against a sea of legs. A change of tactic is sometimes required and this season should determine whether Fergie Jnr has learnt from his previous 2 disastrous attempts at leading teams in the Championship.
Do Posh need a big man up top? Do they need another man up top to partner the current lone striker? It’s hard to decide as we haven’t really seen these options being tried out. In theory, they are options that we should have in our locker, but will Fergie try them at any point in the season. Only Fergie can answer that question.
Overall, Posh were typical Posh in making hard work of it last night. Instead of killing off the game, we passed the ball around without creating any real chances and were ultimately punished three times for it. Thankfully for Posh, with the game heading towards penalties, the fourth goal finally came from the penalty spot but this time it was too late for Stevenage to do anything about it.
Posh just about sneaked the result without getting out of 1st gear. They’ll need to improve come Sunday when they visit the seaside resort of Blackpool though as they will be a different kettle of fish completely.
Tweet Mark @MWL1967